Decoration, Garden Design, Jenny

History of garden gnomes

There’s no Place like Gnome

Once upon a time in the surprisingly not fictional village of Gräfenroda in the genuinely not made up free state of Thuringia, there lived a man named Phillip Griebel. To narrow that down a bit, we’re talking about the mid-nineteenth century in central Germany. Philip was a sculptor by trade who specialised in the crafting of terracotta animals. At some point Philip decided to branch out and sculpt mythical creatures. European folklore is abundant with fabulous little homunculi and beasties but Philip was charmed most by the kaukis. Depending on where you’re from you might know them as ‘leprechauns’ and ‘clurichauns’ in Ireland, ‘saunatonttu’ in Finland, ‘nisse’ or ‘tomte’ in Scandinavia, ‘barbegazi’ in Switzerland and France, and ‘voettir’ in Iceland. Today we know them best as gnomes.

Philip wasn’t alone in his love of gnomes as of all his mythical beast sculptures it was the gnome that endured as favourite. While this is all charming we do have to point out that the company Baehr and Maresch based in Dresden would claim earlier creation of garden gnomes as they had stock of “little folk” statues as early as 1841. If you want to get really picky about it you can credit the origins of garden gnomes to the Romans who placed stone representations of the Greco-Roman fertility god Priapus in their gardens to help plants grow. Wherever they came from they are here to stay.

The popularity of garden gnomes declined during the first World War and most of the second World War as, understandably, people had far more on their minds than garden ornamentation and folklore. It wasn’t until the 1930s that popularity of these little garden guardians soared after the release of Disney’s ground breaking feature length animation Snow White and The Seven Dwarves. In the 1970s, presumably aided by the popularity of experimentation with certain substances, gnomes became even more fantastical, whimsical and downright weird. There was one more big surge in the popularity of garden gnomes in the 1990s with the popularity of “roaming gnome”, a practical joke where gnomes were stolen from gardens and the owners were posted photos of the gnome in humorous situations and/or exotic locations.

Dwarf gnome

Jenny at PrimroseJenny works in the Primrose Product Loading team working on adding new and exciting products to the website. When she’s not writing, proofreading or drinking the strongest coffee possible Jenny loves to climb and can often be found halfway up a wall at the local climbing centre.

See all of Jenny’s posts.

Celebrations And Holidays, Christmas, Decoration, Gardening, Gardens, How To, Lighting, Tyler

As Christmas is edging closer and closer by the day, it’s that time to start decorating your home with colourful, festive decorations and lights! Remember our 20 DIY Outdoor Christmas Decorations blog? Well here at Primrose, we have decided to go further and try it out for ourselves and this is how we did it…

Terracotta Snowman

First off to get your living room looking more Christmassy, make your own Terracotta Snowman! To make this snowman without the hassle of waiting for it to snow, all you need is 3 painted terracotta pots. Start by placing the 3 cups on top of each other, add a hat and scarf and then glue together. Paint on the face and you’re done! Sit your new homemade terracotta snowman outside to add the festive feeling to your garden.

Pine Cone Christmas Tree

The Pine Cone Tree is a great alternative to your traditional christmas tree. All that is needed to create one is a terracotta pot and a suitable sized pine cone. We recommend that you talk a nice walk with family and friends and find a pine cone along your travels! Now paint it with Christmas colours and make a star to place on top of it. The pine cone tree will be perfect on your outdoor table or around the house.

Lighted Hanging Basket

Hanging Basket aren’t quite the same if there isn’t any lights added onto it… This is why our hanging basket stands out more. You can make your own hanging basket a Christmas alternative decoration this year by filling it with spare ornaments and nature. You should then proceed to wrap coloured or white lights around the basket. Hang it outside your front door to embrace the Christmas spirit.

Glass Bottle Lantern

Similar to our glass jar lantern, the glass bottle lantern is another beautiful ornament to have as christmas decorations on your desk or on the dinner table at home. As you may have guessed already, the supplies you’ll need for this particular Christmas decoration is an empty glass bottle and lights, pretty simple right? Wire in the lights into the bottle and then you’re set to have a magical looking lantern wherever you please!

Clothes Peg Star

clothes peg star

If you’re left stuck without a star to add on your Christmas tree this year, no fear! You can create your very own star by using your spare clothes pegs. On ours, we decided to paint it red to go with the rest of our decorations around the office so we advise you paint it to your preference.

 

 

Be sure to send us over the decorations you’ve created this year on our Facebook and Twitter; we’d love to see them!

homemade christmas decorations

Tyler at PrimroseTyler works in the Primrose Marketing team, mainly working on Social Media and Online Marketing.

Tyler is a big fan on everything sports and supports Arsenal Football Club. When not writing Primrose blogs and tweets, you can find Tyler playing for his local Sunday football team or in the gym.

See all of Tyler’s posts.

Dakota Murphey, Decoration, Garden Design, How To, Make over

mum cave

It’s well-documented that men “need” their own sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of a busy family home… but what, women don’t?! The modern gal is somehow expected to be all things at once: income earner, household manager, mother, wife, lover and friend – and yet we don’t “need” our own space to unwind after a long week of relentless life? Rubbish.

I’m sure plenty of people will argue that the entire house is a woman’s kingdom, and that most homes are decorated and run to the specifications of Mum. While this may be true, the fact remains that a household is still a place of constant demands, whether that be from chores, partners, children or pets. It’s simply not the same as having our own, private space to unwind, recuperate and regain our sense of self.

Forget a man-cave, you need a mum-cave, or she-shed. Sound good? Here’s how you make it happen.

Step 1: Claim your domain

In a busy family home, it’s highly likely that all of the spots which used to be “yours”, now belong to someone else. The second bedroom became a nursery; your favourite reading nook now houses the dog bed; even the kitchen and bathroom have been overrun with toys, washing and mess.

While it’s not mandatory for you to move out to the garden shed, it’s essential that your mum-cave is in a part of your home that isn’t frequently used by other people. Converting a garage or loft is a popular choice, but may need a little more planning than taking over the shed.

she shed

Step 2: Purge it

It doesn’t get much more satisfying than emptying out junk that has accumulated over the years. Take an afternoon to clear out gardening tools, old paint tins, broken patio chairs… absolutely everything. You don’t need this stuff infringing on your mum-cave, so sell, donate or bin anything that doesn’t even get used anymore, and relocate everything else to your garage, or a garden storage chest.

Once it’s empty, bust out the rubber gloves and give your shed a thorough clean. Show no mercy to dust, mud or spiders.

Step 3: Make it cosy

To use your she-shed all year round, you’re going to need ways to keep it a comfortable temperature. The simplest way to do this is to lay insulation boards in the roof and walls, before sealing them behind MDF. If you’re feeling fancy, put an insulating underlay down on the floor too, and top it with linoleum or carpet.

Next, you’re probably going to want a power supply. If your shed already has an outlet then make sure it can handle everything you might want to plug into it (sound system, heater, TV etc.). If there isn’t an existing plug, or if it isn’t powerful enough, you’ll need to spend a day connecting one from the main house. Don’t forget to check the strength of your Wi-Fi connection, and purchase a booster if it’s sluggish.

interior design

Step 4: Live your interior design dreams

Remember that cream living room you used to dream about? Or the fantastic shade of turquoise paint that your hubby refused to use in the bedroom? Now’s your chance to make it happen, in a space that nobody else can have an opinion about. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t panic. There is heaps of inspiration available on the web, you just need to know where to look!

If you don’t have much spare furniture at home, try looking in local charity shops and flea markets for second-hand desks, unique storage units and squashy armchairs to help you realise your vision at bargain prices.

Step 5: Add the necessities

Once you’ve decided what role your den is going to play (craft station, yoga studio, reading nook etc.), and have put the main bits of furniture in their place, it’s time to accessorise. Anything that has taken a backseat in the main home can find a haven in your she-cave, whether that’s strings of fairy lights, a zillion scatter cushions or your prized collection of tchotchkes.

transforming shed

Step 6: Protect your kingdom

The final step is to make sure that your mum-cave is safe from unwelcome visitors – yes, that can include your family, but we also mean opportunist thieves who might spot that your shed is no longer simply a shed.

Firstly, avoid drawing unnecessary curiosity by closing curtains, turning off standby lights and removing any valuables overnight. Secondly, visit a security hardware specialist like Signet Locks for tips about improving the locks and latches on your shed and garden gates, to make accessing your garden more difficult.

Once your she-shed is safely under lock and key, you’re done! All that’s left is to grab yourself a glass of wine and some cosy slippers, then slink off to finally enjoy an hour of peace.

Dakota Murphey

Dakota Murphey is an independent content writer who regularly contributes to the horticulture industry. She enjoys nothing more than pottering around her gardening in the sunshine. Find out what else Dakota has been up to on Twitter, @Dakota_Murphey.

Allotment, Greenhouses, Grow Your Own, How To, Megan, Planting, Plants, Vegetables

Vegetarian Garden: Plant Based Proteins

Vegetarianism and veganism is on the rise, with stats showing a massive 360% increase in 10 years. Even reducetarianism is a thing now. Cutting or reducing meat in your diet doesn’t mean your food will be boring – it’ll just be more rainbow! As Primrose’s resident vegan, I have decided to address the age-old question ‘where do you get your protein from?’ by compiling a list of plant based proteins and how to grow them. In no time, your garden will be flourishing with nutrient rich rainbow veggies that would be a welcome addition to any plate.

Green Peas

Vegetarian Garden: Plant Based Protein - green peas

Green peas are a great source of plant based protein, with 5g of protein per 100g. Peas also contain many essential vitamins and minerals and a good amount of fibre. If choosing the meteor variety of peas, sow in November and the peas will be ready to harvest between May and July. We suggest sowing the seeds in old guttering and drilling holes at regular intervals for drainage. Store in a cold frame or in your greenhouse to protect the seedlings from pests. After the seedlings are well established, they can be transferred into your garden. The use of cloches would be beneficial for growth here. When harvesting, be sure to pick regularly for ultimate freshness.

Quinoa

Vegetarian Garden: Plant Based Protein - red quinoa

Quinoa, pronounced ‘keen-wah’, is an ancient grain that is packed full of protein, 13g per 100g to be precise. It contains all nine essential amino acids making it a complete plant based protein. As exotic as it sounds it is actually relatively easy to grow quinoa in the UK. The best time to sow quinoa is in April, and you should be able to enjoy your quinoa from early autumn. Early growth can look a lot like weeds so ensure you mark your plants carefully to prevent treating them like weeds by accident. Harvesting is the trickiest part – remove the seed heads when the leaves start to turn yellow and leave them to dry for a couple of weeks. To remove the seeds, rub the seed heads with your hands. Ensure you rinse quinoa well before cooking, as un-rinsed quinoa tends to be quite bitter.

Pumpkins

Vegetarian Garden: Plant Based Protein - pumpkins

Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween – the seeds inside are packed full of nutrients and have a mighty 19g protein per 100g, making them a great plant based protein. They are also very high in magnesium and omega 3. Pumpkin plants take up a lot of ground; each plant requires around 3 foot of ground around it, making a single plot more than 6 foot each side. Sow seeds directly into the ground from late May to early June. Use mulch coupled with tomato food to feed your pumpkins, ensuring you water the seedlings regularly in order to keep them in optimum health. It is important not to harvest too early, so ensure the skin is tough and the stems have started to crack before picking. You can use the pumpkin to make a hearty soup and the seeds as a healthy on-the-go plant based snack.

Broad Beans

Vegetarian Garden: Plant Based Protein - broad beans

Broad beans contain around 6g of protein per 100g and are high in vitamin K, vitamin B6 and zinc. The best time to sow them is between February and April. If sowing earlier, ensure you put cloches in place to warm the soil ahead of time. Alternatively you can sow them in small pots in the greenhouse where it is easier to protect them from pests. Broad bean plants tend to flop which can cause the stems to bend and break so help keep them upright by investing in some cane and string. To keep your broad beans as fresh as possible, store them in the freezer or dry them out.

Broccoli

Vegetarian Garden: Plant Based Protein - broccoli

Broccoli is a very nutritionally-rich food, boasting a variety of vitamins and minerals and 2.8g of protein per 100g. This plant based protein is part of the cabbage family and there are lots of varieties including sprouting broccoli and purple cauliflower. Sow broccoli seeds from late March to early June. It is preferable to sow in a seedling tray and place in a greenhouse, poly tunnel or cold frame. After the seeds have germinated let them acclimatise to outdoor temperatures by using cloches or storing in a mini greenhouse. The amount of space you give each seedling in your plot will determine how large the broccoli head will grow. Ensure you harvest the broccoli before it turn yellow, as by then the florets are starting to bloom.

Megan at PrimroseMegan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns
or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.

See all of Megan’s posts.

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